(by Pr. Rossow) On the post titled Gesundheit, Bon Appetit and Kyrie Eleison from April 5th, I promised that we would get you the video of our congregation singing LSB (Lutheran Service Book) #944 – the Kyrie in Greek. Yesterday at our confirmation service we were able to do just that.
We thank our timpanist Eric K. for taking the video. It is a little dark because he was by a bank of very bright windows.
The congregation learned this liturgical piece a few years ago and now, as you can tell from the video, we are able to sing it a capella, even when the sanctuary is filled with lots of guests for confirmation. We thank our Cantor Phillip Magness for his leadership through the years in teaching us such a a great variety of ways to sing the historic liturgy.
We beg, plead, and even challenge all of those Contemporary Worship (CoWo) parishes to reconsider their marriage to the culture of trendy, protestant, non-sacramental, emotion-based worship styles and rediscover all over again your first love as Biblical, Lutheran, Christians – the historic liturgy which so fittingly wraps the real presence of God in Christ, in the New Covenant meal, in such a real, authentic, reverent, and even emotional package that fits the coming of God to man in His Divine Service for us.
There is no need to give in to the dumbing down of worship culture. A rich, meaningful, sacramental, reverent service is possible with simple Midwestern folk and if we can do it, so can anyone. The liturgy is not high brow. It is folk music and is written to be sung by groups of people and not written in the difficult slurring and sliding style of pop music which is written for soloists. There is of course an entire genre of Praise Music that is a little more folks-friendly but it is written with emotional eruption as the primary motivator and is in most cases not fitting for the expression of an objectively true religion such as our Biblical faith.
Liturgical worship is far from boring and stale. As you can also see from the video, there is a wide variety of music available in the Lutheran Service Book. At the tail end of the Kyrie video you can hear us starting the Hymn of Praise. It is our tradition every confirmation Sunday to replace "This is the Feast" with another hymn of praise with a similar text from the Apocalypse, but with the refrain in Spanish – "Alabare" (LSB 799). We do it complete with claves, and because we had the brass choir there for confirmation, with the added beauty of a bit of a mariachi sound. All in all, singing most of the liturgy in our own native tongue of English but with a Greek Kyrie and a Hispanic Hymn of Praise makes for a rich, authentic liturgical expression. It is a testimony to the clutural universality of the liturgy.
The richness that we are able to have because we have devoted financial resources to the Divine Service may not be possible in every Lutheran parish but it is not as complex as you might think. It is doable if you commit the same resources that you do to your sound boards, video screens and powerpoints.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on your Church so that this rich renewal of historic worship continue that we may return to our first liturgical love.